FEATURING: Maria Schoettler
What do the words "Creative Community" bring to mind for you? How do you feel is the best way to utilize members in a Creative Community?
A creative community can be people you work alongside daily, either in a shared physical space, or the people working within the creative field who may not be geographically close to, but whom you identify with. I identify with folks who are committed to their practice either as their source of income or as a source of personal fulfillment, a sort of calling. People who make their creative work of the utmost importance and always find a way to make it happen.
How did you discover your creativity?
It came to me at a pretty young age! Since I was a tiny kid, I have always found joy, entertainment even, in drawing pictures and making things. It has been an outlet for me almost my entire life. Be it in drawing, painting, singing, cooking or even just getting dressed in the morning- there's an opportunity to be creative in nearly every endeavor worth doing!
Name the biggest challenge you have had in growing your business. How did you solve it?:
I have struggled with finding growth without losing sight of my intention. I don't want to just make more stuff that people buy and consume mindlessly. I want to limit my production and keep my items "special" and meaningful and make them with the utmost integrity of materials with sustainability in mind. If it isn't educational, useful or beautiful, I don't see the point in making it. I have to be excited about bringing whatever new product into the world and it's hard to stay authentic and maintain growth while thinking about myself only as an artist that makes product. To solve this, I have expanded my business to also include commissioned art projects such as wedding stationery, artwork for marketing purposes or commissioned paintings for people's homes. Though I've had to take some work I wasn't 100% stoked on, these other sources of income have allowed to continue making my living off of creative work.
What was your first “Big Break” in your profession?
Getting my work into shops. Back in 2009 I hit the pavement and started showing shop owner's my calendar and they actually took to it! It was sort of a miracle to me that I made something people actually wanted to carry and buy. If I didn't have the audacity to just put my work in front of people, as scary as that was, I never would have been able to make my business real.
What's in your backpack/handbag/tote right now?
Nothing too exciting. Here's pure honesty: Ilia lipstick which is organic and comes in recycled aluminum. A micron pen. Tons of old receipts I need to throw away. A bento bag with an apple in it.
Top 3 Tips you would give someone starting out in your creative profession:
Make space for your work. It doesn't have to be a big space, physically or time investment-wise, but commit to it. Make it a priority. There will always be something else that seems easier or more attractive to do at than sitting down and doing your work, but it's the only way to get to the next step, whatever that is. You may have to take other jobs to sustain it, but it's worth it. Also, have a designated physical space where you can work on your projects and focus. Ideally, having a studio space is best, but even if it's just a small desk in your home. This will allow you to work without distraction, unafraid to make a mess and will help you take the work more seriously.
Who are you following right now on Instagram for inspiration and why?
For many reasons, I am taking a sort of hiatus from looking at Instagram these days. There's endless inspiration in nature, the amazing women who work at my shared studio space and the people who I feel lucky enough to have in my life who are makers and even those who aren't, inspire me. To name some of my amazing and creative friends who have instagram accounts: @Leahtumerman @caseofyoudarling @emmadime @alexaeyes @chelseydyer @putitinthepizza just to name a few!
What is your MOTTO in life?
60% fun, 40% work. I always make time to play, travel, cook good meals, see friends and take care of myself. I don't think I could contribute anything meaningful if I didn't have work/life balance. I also think there is WAY too much emphasis in our culture on what people do for work. I say the more you can do to take care of yourself, be good to the people around you and always try to stay curious and learn about yourself and the world around you, that's more of an indicator of success in my book. Even if you aren't making very much money, happiness is more important.
What is your guiltiest pleasure?
I try not to have shame or guilt around pleasure! If I feel like bingeing on netflix, listening to pop-hits, or getting some kind of self-indulgent beauty treatment done, I have no shame!
If you were on an island and could only bring three things, what would you bring?
1. A book I could read again and again
2. a pen & paper
3. a device for playing music
What do your parents think you do?
My parents fully understand what I do and they are proud of me. They have always encouraged me and supported me to be an artist. I feel like I've really lucked out when it comes to the family support.
What would be your Networking Do's & Dont's.
Always have business cards on you. I would have to recommend some advice from the book "How to Win Friends and Influence People." Ask people questions about themselves, even if you are meeting someone who's reputation precedes them. Don't lead with how interesting you are. By that same token, don't be afraid to share who you are and what you do. It has to be a balance as far as listening and sharing.
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